Building the Quilt Top – Working with Angles
Tamara Kate designer, Tamara Serrao
Welcome back for the second session to help you through building your Whatever the Weather Quilt. Last week I talked about selecting colours and fabrics for the quilt. This week, we will be dealing with angles. (Week One, including the PDF instructions, can be found here)
While the quilt may initially look overwhelming, in fact it mostly uses 60-degree (equilateral) triangles that are pretty easy to work with.
Please refer to the pdf instructions in Part 1 for cutting instructions and cut all the rainbow triangles, dark triangles and PIECES G, H& J as described. For the most part you will be using your 60-degree triangle ruler. Refer to the diagram below for names of pieces and layout as we go along.
For the triangles, I found it easiest to put 3 tape marks on my ruler (one for each size) so it was easy for me to see at an instant that I was cutting at the right spot.
Now that you have all your fabrics cut, let’s start working on all those fun, colourful triangles. First, the bigger ones which will be used for the outermost ring of the “wheel.”
For each rainbow triangle, randomly pick 2 of your PIECE G (one facing right & one facing left). The difference in width of the two PIECES G above does not matter. What does matter is that you have an absolute minimum 1 inch horizontal space to the side of the angle at the base.
First take the right hand PIECE G, flip it over so it is on top of the rainbow triangle, right sides together (RST). What is important here is that the right and left sides of your 2 pieces are perfectly aligned and that your top points meet (don’t worry about the bottom not matching). Sew along the right side (all seam allowances are a quarter inch). When you are sewing, the bottom point of your rainbow triangle should protrude beyond the end of your PIECE G. This is normal.
Iron your seam allowances toward the ground fabric and repeat for the other PIECE G.
This next step is very important for accuracy. Trim your block so that
- (a) the base is straight all the way across without trimming the rainbow triangle (just trim the PIECES G if needed to match the rainbow triangle), and
- (b) the top is parallel to the bottom and exactly a quarter inch beyond the sewn top peak of the rainbow triangle.
Repeat this process for all of the large triangles, as well as for all the medium (middle and inner rainbow) and small (dark) triangles.
Making sure you are placing the correct fabrics in the correct order, on a flat surface, place all your trimmed triangle blocks in consecutive circles, keeping each colour group together to form Stacked Triangle Sections (see the quilt layout diagram near the top of this post).
One Section at a time, sew them together, making sure to keep all pieces perfectly centered (for the top triangle, fold a crease half-way along the base to align with the top peak of the next one).
Press seam allowances toward the top. For the next Section, press seams toward the bottom. Continue alternating all the way around the circle.
Now to trim your Sections. Carefully place a long ruler over the top of a section so that the outer edge is exactly a quarter inch beyond all the rainbow and dark triangle sewn right corners. Trim. Do the same thing along the left edge.
Now to cut PIECES A through F. First print the pattern pieces in the pdf as described therein.
I found it very simple to place my acrylic ruler over the top of the pieces, exactly a quarter inch beyond the printed lines to cut the pattern pieces with an Exacto knife prior to cutting fabric.
For all these pattern pieces, you will be cutting 4 pieces of fabric, but 2 of these pieces need to be the mirrored version of the original.
Place these fabric pieces around the outside of the wheel of Stacked Triangle Sections, determining which colours you would like to have at the top of your quilt accordingly.
Once this is all figured out, start sewing PIECES A through F to their corresponding Sections. If after sewing you notice any of PIECES A through F are slightly wider than the previously assembled Sections, simply trim the excess fabric along the sides, making sure to align your cut edge with your previously trimmed Section edge (Do not cut into the previously trimmed Section edges).
Now, let’s take a look at the basic structure of the quilt in the diagram toward the top of the post. When looking at the entire quilt, note that it can be divided completely into quarters. This is how the quilt is built.
To finish our 4 Quarter Sections, first we need to piece together all the Stacked Triangle Sections from each quarter (be sure to pin to align triangle points side-by-side prior to sewing).
Then print and cut 4 PIECE K from ground fabric (remember to add the seam allowance). If you haven’t sewn circles before, this isn’t that hard. It just takes a bit of patience and lots of pins. You will be stitching the curved edge of PIECE K to the curved edge of your pieced Sections (I will show you with a solid piece of fabric as it’s easier to see, but will work the same).
First, fold PIECE K in half to form a crease at the centre of the curve. With RST, pin the curved edge of PIECE K at the crease line to the centre of the pieced Sections. Also pin each end of the curve of PIECE K to each end of the curve of the pieced Sections. Work your way between these pins, pinning every inch or so all the way along the curve, distributing the fabric evenly throughout.
Very carefully sew along the curved edge, removing pins as you go, constantly checking to be sure that fabric is not being caught on the underside. Slow and steady is the key here.
Press the seams toward PIECE K. Sew all the Quarter Sections together in order and your quilt top is finished!
That’s it for today. Over the next few days you may want to square up your quilt top and sandwich batting between it and your backing fabric in your preferred fashion in preparation for the final instalment to this blog series where we will look at quilting options.
Have a great week and enjoy looking at your rainbow.
(PS- The instructions are added again below for your reference)
Whatever the Weather Quilt Instructions